I was deathly afraid of sharks and of not being able to breath under water. I saw myself drowning and making a big scene. I was afraid the equipment would break. I had so much anxiety thinking about it that my heart would race and my whole body would start shaking. I could barely speak when thinking about actually doing it.
I became aware that what I thought was going to happen and what was feeding my fear were irrational beliefs – getting attacked by a shark and having equipment fail were very rare occurrences and NOT likely to happen. I got information about the location of diving and the potential dangers and this gave me a more realistic picture. At our family beach holiday, I watched my son and husband go and come back safely 2 or 3 times.
After listening to my son describe how wonderful and easy the experience was, I decided that I would start thinking about how wonderful it would be and what exactly would be wonderful about it instead of how horrible it would be. I decided to adopt a positive attitude about what the experience would be like. Now I just needed to practice that positive attitude.
Once I decided to change my mindset, I began visualizing the beauty of the undersea world. Using my son’s descriptions, I imagined the plants and fish, and the calm I would experience. Every time my old fears would start filtering in, I would work hard to crowd them out with my new positive images of what it might be like for me under the water. I also did a lot of deep breathing.
The day for my private lesson came. I met my private instructor. I got my gear on. We took the 300 foot walk down to the ocean and stood in 3 feet of water. By the time I reached this point my heart was racing and my body was shaking. I told Rodrigo – the handsome young dive instructor – that I was frightened out of my mind. I was about to hyperventilate. But I wanted to do this!!!
He asked me to breath and he told me it would be O.K. We put our heads under and came up a few times. Then we put our heads under and practiced taking the ventilator in and out of our mouths. After a few practices, we went under the water and he gave me the sign for “let’s go.” I felt my heart race, a millisecond of panic happened, but I followed, and my inner voice immediately started saying, “Breath and calm. Breath and calm.” I was slowing down my heart rate. I was calming down. Within a minute or two, I WAS DOING IT! We were down for about 20 minutes and were able to take in the undersea landscape of coral, brightly colored fish and light filtering in from above. I was so proud of myself and so happy! I went two more times after, both times with my 12-year-old son. Seeing him diving near me, his calm, his confidence, and his grace, were moments that I will never forget. Yet I never would have had this precious experience, happiness and adventure without The Courageous Mindset.
The Courageous Mindset is a model for women who are ready to take on goals that currently lie beyond their comfort zones. Its unique purpose is to focus on the practice of courage in daily life so that clients become more courageously fit. When we practice courage daily, it is more likely to be present when we need it unexpectedly or for the big things. The model describes the on-going growth cycle of clarity, positive mindsets and courageous action. When clients focus on developing courage, it fuels change, growth, action and success.
“Authentic Happiness.” What Is Well-Being?p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2015.
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset. London: Robinson, 2012. Print.
Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders. 2010. Ted Talk Performance.
“Oxforddictionaries.com.” N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web.